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  • Photo: Tony DiMarco

    Photo: Tony DiMarco

    Jagger's Friday Mailbag - 11/17/2023

    Before we begin the show, I just want to wish the happiest of birthdays to my man Earl Smith. Tonight’s VT-Rutgers matchup was actually supposed to be Earl Night, but he has a soccer game or something to go to. That mistake aside, I’m proud to call Virginia’s second favorite son not only my captain, but also my friend. So have a day, my man. You’ve earned it. Now let’s see if I can sneak an F Word in here somewhere. 

    If Tom Brands ever decides to step down, who would Iowa need to go after to compete with PSU?? Who could they actually get? Dean Wrestling 

    First off, I don’t think Tom Brands knows the words step down/retire/quit. But if there ever was to be a change, there’s no shortage of candidates of Hawkeye alumni. Spencer Lee has always been discussed as the future man in charge and I don’t disagree. But the point is moot for now because Brands is not going anywhere any time soon. 

    Who is really #1 at 133? Madison Hollenbeck 

    If you asked me 20 years ago I’d say Nelly. Because two is not a winner and three nobody remembers. But it’s not 20 years ago and there are no St. Lunatics here. By the time this hits the newsstands, you’ll have heard every argument about it and I’m not sure what else I can add to it except for what I’m about to say to the next question. For the record, I still think Vitali Arujau 

    is the best wrestler at the weight until further notice. 

    Are rankings just actually for clicks? Derek Conrad 

    Well, I think everything is for clicks in some aspect. The point is to draw traffic to your site and sell ad space. As you can see, I have no ads because I write the dumbest column in the history of the sport. But rankings are just one person’s opinion and of course, it will vary from site to site. Flo has a formula they use and so does InterMat. WrestleStat has an algorithm that sometimes makes for some strange movement, but those guys constantly tinker to try and get it right. My advice is to take them all with a grain of salt and just as a reference tool for matching guys up. Did Flo put Crookham at number one to juice the conversation for the week and maybe get ahead of the curve if he really does end up on top at the end? Maybe they did. But that’s the business we are in. Clicks and conversation are what fuel us. Am I mentioning Ryan Crookham, right now, just so Earl can use his picture in the header? You’re damn right I am. It generates clicks. 

    What is the appropriate date for Christmas music to start? Salty Walkon 

    The day after Thanksgiving. Frankly, I just don’t know why businesses even do this before then. Trust me, nobody is yearning for Jingle Bells on November 17. We all want our Mariah Carey but don’t shove it down our throats. Go full bore on Black Friday and we will all accept it. I have to think of everything around here. I'm tired of it. 

    Keys to victory for the Scarlet Knights to pull off this upset end keep the Jagger Night streak alive? Dysen Gould 

    There are a few paths to victory here. The simplest is probably a 5/5 split with a Soldano pin to cover any bonus point losses. In that scenario, I have it 18-17 Rutgers. But even then, some of those proposed wins are still tossups that you absolutely have to win and you’re asking one of them to be via pin. Sure, Soldano is a pinner but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I’ll say this much; the new takedown scoring may severely affect the way the wind blows in this one. If VT can pull majors in their most favorable matches then it’s likely because of the new scoring rules. On the flip side, Soldano may not get a pin but his style may lead to various seven-point moves that will be huge on the Rutgers end. 165 is the pivotal match in this one. VT should be the favorite on paper, but Tony White is no joke. A win here in the home opener against a team like this could be just the thing Tony needs to get to that next level. The whole dual is just fascinating and could be on the shortlist of best duals of the year when the season comes to an end. Or it could suck. 

    Jags, back in 2004, I witnessed a guy smoking between matches at the Scranton Open. Was this you or someone you know? Richard Mann 

    I wish. Coincidentally, I was living in Northeast PA about 45 minutes from Scranton in 2004, but I was tending bar rather than huffing Bogeys at open tournaments. That was also a miserable time in my life and I will speak no further of it. I wasted so much time of my life serving old men beer in one-dollar pilsner glasses during the day shift. Just miserable.

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